NAF pledges transparent probe in wake of recurring fatal air crashes

NAF pledges transparent probe in wake of recurring fatal air crashes

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Sunday, May 23, assured Nigerians that investigations into last Friday’s plane crash and other recent ones would be transparent.

This was contained in a statement issued by the NAF spokesman, Edward Gabkwet, who said the force would not rush to take any decision.

However, he stated that the NAF would wait for the outcome of the investigation involving it; and the Accident Investigation Bureau before deciding on the fatal plane crashes.

1st News had reported that 11 military officers, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru; died on Friday when a Beechcraft KingAir B350i billed to land at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Mando, Kaduna crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.

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The death of the officers increased the number of military personnel; who died in crashes involving NAF aircraft, to 33 in six years. Also, during the period, the Nigerian military lost 11 aircraft to crashes.

On February 21, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed; while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport after reporting engine failure en route Minna. Seven crew members on board the jet died.

Gabkwet also noted that it would be hasty for the NAF to ground the Beechcraft KingAir B350i since there had been two crashes involving it in recent times.

He, however, assured Nigerians that NAF would decide on fatal crashes; after thorough the investigation it was jointly carrying out with the Accident Investigation Bureau.

He stated, “We want to be as transparent as possible. Nigerians will be fully informed about the outcome of the investigation. We are going to have a joint press conference with the AIB; and make sure everybody gets the outcome of this investigation.

“In the meantime, we are not rushing into taking certain decisions that would hamper our own operations. Mind you, we still have operations ongoing. We must be careful about the kind of action we take. We should not take our eyes off the ball, we must remain focused on whatever we are doing; not take rash decisions just to please few critics on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. No, we won’t do that.”

Gabkwet explained that the two Beechcraft aircraft that crashed were different series; noting that the one which crashed in Abuja in March was configured for intelligence; surveillance; and reconnaissance; while the Beechcraft involved in Friday’s crash in Kaduna was a passenger aircraft.

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